Anup Sridhar's dream run in the World Badminton Championships came to a screeching halt as he went down to top seed and defending champion Lin Dan after giving a scare to the Chinese in the quarterfinals at Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
Sridhar played courageously against his formidable opponent but ultimately lost 20-22 9-21 in 38 minutes.
The scoreline is not an indicator of how Sridhar, who knocked off Olympic Champion Taufiq Hidayat and former All England Champion Muhd Hafiz B Hashim in two days, ran close to world No.1 Lin.
In the first game, the Indian was up 20-19 with just one point away from taking a crucial 1-0 advantage.
But luck was not in Sridhar's favour as Lin saved the game point and closed the game at 22-20.
Lin was in absolute command in the second game and did not concede an inch to tame the giant killer Indian without much trouble.
Sridhar would be more than happy with what he achieved in the tournament and his world ranking of 40 is sure to get a major boost from his quarterfinal appearance here.
Lin will now take on fourth seed compatriot Bao Chunlai, who beat Kenneth Jonassen of Denmark 21-11 21-11.
Sridhar, whose deft placements at the net had been his hallmark in the tournament, surprised Lin with his supple wristy game as he pocketed 12 net winners to Lin's three in the first game.
Having got a taste of Sridhar's play, Lin decided to beat him at his own game and the world No.1 adapted well to notch up eight net winners to Sridhar's three in the next game.
The Bangalore boy played with a big heart in the first game. After being down 2-6, Sridhar slowly started closing in the gap to hold Lin at 10-10 and got the advantage at 12-11.
From there on, it was a neck-and-neck thriller with both scoring one point at a time. Sridhar stood on the verge of a game point at 20-19 but could not convert it. Lin was in no mood to give his fierce opponent another chance and closed it at 22-20.
The Chinese raced to a 7-1 lead in the second game and it was too wide a gap for Sridhar to catch up Lin.